Medical providers have a professional duty to use accepted treatment methods and adhere to the standard of care when treating a patient’s condition. Medical malpractice is a legal term to describe a medical professional’s failure to meet the standard of care for a given situation. While medicine is an inherently uncertain and unpredictable field, doctors, surgeons, nurses, and other medical care providers have a professional responsibility to use their best judgment and conform to accepted medical practices for every patient.
Medical malpractice takes many forms. The most common include:
- Diagnosis requires a differential process of elimination. The attending physician must assess a patient’s symptoms and determine their most likely causes using accepted diagnostic methods. When a doctor fails to provide a timely and accurate diagnosis that another similarly skilled professional could have managed, this typically constitutes misdiagnosis.
- Medication errors. Prescribing physicians must ensure patients receive accurate medication prescriptions and dosages. Many medications have similar-sounding names, and prescribing doctors must use care when filling out prescriptions for their patients to avoid adverse reactions, overdoses, or failure to address the patient’s symptoms.
- Surgical mistakes. Surgeons must use extreme caution when operating on their patients. While some errors are reasonable under some circumstances, injuring a patient due to incompetence, inability to use medical equipment correctly, or otherwise failing to meet the standard of care for surgical procedure may constitute medical malpractice.
- Childbirth errors. Doctors and medical staff who perform childbirth procedures must use extreme caution during the entire process. If a doctor is too forceful during delivery, misuses medical equipment, or otherwise injures a child or the mother during delivery, this may result in permanent disabilities to the child and/or injuries to the mother.
- Anesthesia errors. Anesthesiologists must use extreme care when administering anesthesia for surgical procedures. They must also account for patient drug allergies and sensitivities.
Medical malpractice is a serious issue that can easily lead to more medical treatment, significant hospital bills, lost income from missed time at work, pain and suffering and even death. If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, contact Shlesinger & deVilleneuve to arrange a consultation with an experienced attorney.